The oldest ‘wine labels’ ever found were between 1386 and 1349 BC. Archeologists found wine jars from Pharaoh Amenhotep III which had inscriptions carrying the year of the wine, the vineyard and vintner’s name, together with the quality and quantity produced. Wine labels are nothing new but have played an important part in influencing the consumer for literally thousands of years.
Today people are buying wine because of the label. Recent studies show that 80% of consumers that pick up a bottle of wine from the shelf are likely to buy it, because of its label shelf appeal.
There are two elements of the wine labels that really influence the customer:
For many producers, the label is their primary communications tool and as marketing and advertising budgets are cut, the wine labels become of prime importance. The quality of the label is an essential element when choosing a wine. Textured papers, tactile varnishes, embossing and foiling together with a clever design, give the label a quality feel. The more the label enhances a premium image, the better the perception will be.
Secondly, the wine labels need to stimulate the target market that they are aimed at. Although each consumer is different, we can cluster them into 3 global categories:
- the Connoisseur
- the Social Drinker
- the Younger Set
By understanding these groups, the producer can adopt the best labelling solution.
The Connoisseur is typically over 40yrs, financially placed and generally male. He enjoys fine old wines and looks for detailed information on the wine labels. He is attracted to very high-quality labels, rich in texture and feel, that feature complex embellishments and print techniques.
The Social Drinker is usually between 30 & 50yrs, with a good knowledge of wines. He requires simple, practical information, for example recipe ideas. The Social Drinker prefers smooth, bright papers that are soft to the touch and a label with few embellishments.
The Younger Set is 23 – 34yrs and is growing fast. This group is less extravagant and looks for a wine that is fun and easy to drink. Minimal information is key and short messages such as ‘Good with fish’. Fun colours and trendy, whacky designs appeal. Unusual print combinations, for example coloured varnishes on metalised paper or holographic images, are very attractive to this set.
Designers of wine labels are working hard to ensure the right combination of look and feel to target these markets. What’s more, new markets are emerging. China and Russia’s wine consumption was insignificant 6 years ago but is now 7th and 10th globally. Asia represents another huge growth area as producers gear up to.
Wine labels have always been important, but no more so than in today’s competitive market place. Time and money is being invested like never before to ensure that wine labels really do their job – make the bottle stand out from the growing crowd.